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Poland

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 701 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1752 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1408 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1207 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission considered that approximation of anti-trust legislation had progressed well, although an effort had to be made to adapt existing legislation. As for State aid, progress had been somewhat limited, particularly concerning the rules on the functioning of the monitoring authority and establishment of the necessary degree of transparency.

The November 1998 Report criticised the backlog in this field and noted that it would be almost impossible for Poland to comply with the short-term Accession Partnership priorities in the field of State aids and antitrust/merger legislation.

The October 1999 Report considered that Poland had made significant progress in aligning its rules on restrictive practices and mergers. However, the alignment of State aid on the Community acquis posed problems. It was of the utmost importance that the overall law on State aid be adopted. Considerable effort must be made to combat distortions of competition arising from State aid and to align the rules on state monopolies in the energy sector and exclusive rights for international telecommunications services on the Community acquis.

The November 2000 Report found that Poland had made progress by adopting a new antitrust law, a regulation on monopolies and, in particular, a framework law on State aid which was based on the fundamental principles of the Community acquis and put in place an ex ante control system of aid projects. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) had drawn up a relatively satisfactory inventory of State aid.

The November 2001 Report recognised that Poland had made remarkable progress. In April, the entry into force of the law on competition improved the control system, simplified the procedure and gave the OCCP a certain degree of independence. The framework law on State aid which came into force in January and contained among others detailed provisions on the control of sectoral, regional and horizontal aid, was a step forward.

The October 2002 Report considered that Poland had made further progress in this area. Nevertheless, Poland still needed to focus on establishing a more efficient and transparent control of State aid, in particular in sensitive sectors (in particular, the steel industry).

The November 2003 Report acknowledges the work carried out on restrictive practices but stresses that more care is needed to ensure that the State aid rules are correctly applied.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

European Community rules on competition stem from Article 3 (g) of the Treaty, which states that the activities of the Community shall include "a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted". The main areas of application are restrictive agreements and State aid.

The Europe Agreement with Poland, which came into force on 1 February 1995, provides for a competition regime to be applied in trade relations between the Community and Poland based on the requirements set out in Articles 81, 82 and 87 of the EC Treaty (ex-Articles 85, 86 and 92) concerning agreements between undertakings, abuses of dominant position and State aid, and for implementing rules in these fields to be adopted within three years of the entry into force of the Agreement.

Furthermore, the Agreement requires Poland to make its rules on competition compatible with those of the Community.

The White Paper refers to the progressive application of the above provisions and of those contained in the merger Regulation (4064/89) and Articles 31 (ex-Article 37) and 86 (ex-Article 90) concerning monopolies and special rights of the EC Treaty.

ASSESSMENT

The new antitrust law and the framework law on State aid, which were adopted in 2000 and came into force in 2001, have enabled major progress to be made in aligning Polish legislation with the Community acquis.

The main challenge at present is to draw up a plan for the effective application of the existing rules on antitrust and State aid. To that end, the OCCP is called on to establish a system of more dissuasive and effective penalties with regard to restrictive agreements which distort competition.

As regards State aid, Poland must put in place a system to control all aid measures, namely, tax breaks for special economic zones and sectoral aid (particularly in the steel industry). It needs to align the tax aid offered to investors in the special economic zones for which authorisation was granted before 2001, but it must also pay special attention to rescue and restructuring aid and R&D aid.

Negotiations on the present chapter are continuing. In order to complete its accession preparations in time, Poland needs to focus on carrying out its alignment and introducing a more efficient and transparent control of State aid.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 04.03.2004
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